On the third day of Accountable Now’s Annual General Meeting, the Dynamic Accountability Community of Practice (DACoP) took over to host two events. The first session saw participants use stories of Dynamic Accountability journeys from around the world to reflect on power-shifting and being people driven in their own work, while the second session looked at the outcomes from the recent stakeholder consultation on the future of DACoP, and started to review potential options for the way forward.
The first session started with presentations from Ariola Agolli (Partners Albania) and Oyebisi Oluseyi (Nigeria Network of NGOs). Ariola shared her network’s journey to embed an accountability standard for their members through engagement to ensure that the final product is lived and practised. Oyebisi also shared NNNGOs journey into dynamic accountability, showcasing the network’s journey into self-regulation to maintain CSO independence from harsh government oversight, spotlighting CSO accountability and gaining better public trust. Both journeys showcase the changes in the national sector – and how engagement supported buy-ins and enabled organisations to become more committed to putting accountability on the agenda.
In breakout groups, participants reflected on their own journey to shift power, being people-driven, closing the feedback loop and validating their work with communities. Other takeaways include how accountability can have an impact on the way CSOs work, and how COVID-19 has changed the way they practised accountability.
With technical difficulties, one of the planned speakers – Ines Yabar’s (Restless Development) video could not be played. Since she couldn’t be in person with us, she shared a moving short presentation about her own accountability journey with Restless Development, how the organisation’s commitment to putting her first enabled her to now put other young people first. Make sure to check it out below:
Ines Yabar speaks about her journey with Restless Development, and how she helped shape the Youth Power Principles.
After a brief break, the DACoP reconvened to showcase its very own journey in becoming more member-led. From its beginning on the sidelines of International Civil Society Week 2019 in Belgrade, the DACoP has been through many iterations, including a pilot on Tribe (it didn’t go that well! – check out our Failure Blog here). Currently, the DACoP is being coordinated by Accountable Now representing the Global Standard for CSO Accountability Partnership, CIVICUS, and Restless Development. The DACoP as a platform has had many successes – our events provided members and non-members alike with discussions on Shifting Narratives, Accountability during COVID-19, Rebalancing Powers, among others (check out our newsletters too!).
However there was still scope for the DACoP to truly put its value of Dynamic Accountability at its core – and consultation with members is one of the key ways to ensure that members have the opportunity and space to support and lead the community. With the help of an external consultant, we commissioned a piece of research that enabled members to be able to share their thoughts more freely and input into the DACoP’s future.
The research showed a context of post pandemic digital exhaustion, information overload, a sector that is ambitious about shifting power, the reality of working on accountability within an organisation, and consideration on what makes a good community of practice. The presented findings outline how the DACoP can further strengthen its purpose and space, moving towards an engaging plan where people can share knowledge, challenges and opportunities, and shape the agenda. Participants in the research also highlighted the enablers (topics, funding, communications) and barriers (availability, time zone and when events are held, topics’ relevance to members’ interest, technology in terms of internet and accessibility, and language) for engaging.
Inputs on how to make the community more active also include to encourage cooperation and strengthen communication, to create knowledge products that members can share, to better recognise power dynamics, and to look at options for professional development. The process reveals some interesting ideas which can be followed up particularly on the language of accountability, how to support professional development and individual struggles within organisations. There is also a desire to work on shared influencing to catalyse change within the sector – as an alliance of dynamic accountability focused practitioners. After the presentation, breakout groups enabled participants to further add their inputs on the immediate next steps – in addition to the topics to be covered and the learning formats that the DACoP can undertake
As the DACoP continues to grow, there are some immediate next steps that will be taken such as engaging members who have volunteered to enlarge the coordination team, explore how to embed members’ professional growth through the DACoP, co-create knowledge products, better resource the community, and adapt the formats and topics that the research uncovered to shape the agenda for the DACoP in the next year.
If you’re interested in collaborating with the DACoP – please contact Bao Han at firstname.lastname@example.org.